Benjamin Wasserman had combined his two great loves: the sea and wireless radio. When he left on the voyage of the Dakar submarine, his daughter Idit remained by the radio, waiting for a sign, waiting for him to return
In memory of Benjamin Maimon Wasserman
26th of Elul 5686 (September 5th, 1926) – 29 Tevet 5728 (January 30, 1968)
Benny (Benjamin) Wasserman was curious, clever, brave and above all else – modest. As a student he was quiet; he didn’t participate in group activities. Nonetheless, he was the first in his class to join the Haganah in August 1944.
When the Second World War broke out, Benny and his friends joined the maritime youth movement called Zevulun, where he spent a lot of his time sailing up and down the coast of Israel. After about two years, he became a counselor and showed his skill at sailing. During that period, he attended the Maritime High School in Haifa. He used to be absent from school without explanation and later one of his friends found out that he was working as a radioman for the Haganah. As an adult, he became an announcer on the underground radio station and his whistle of “It hasn’t yet been lost” would open the broadcast. In the Haganah, he took several radio communication courses after which he joined the headquarters and became one of those responsible for communication with the Ma’apilim (illegal immigrant) ships. He participated in the disembarking of the new arrivals on Nitzana beach (from the Shabtai Lodginski), on Tel Aviv beach (from the Palmach) and on Nahariyah beach (from the Hanna Senesh) and he also participated in dozens of “unloadings” in which the ships were caught.
Benny Wasserman z"l
As a natural extension of his service on behalf of the nascent state as a technician and radioman, Benny became an officer in the Communications Corps and served as a mobile technician who went wherever he was needed – including to Rhodes during the ceasefire talks.
In 1952, Benny returned to the navy, his first love, where he completed his studies at the Technion as an electronic engineer. He reached the rank of Major and after finishing his studies was made the commander of the Navy’s School of Electronics. From there he was sent with his family to Britain for three years to oversee the electronic renovation of the submarines that were being acquired there. His family was his pride and joy – and particularly his children. He found pleasure in various hobbies: carpentry, photography, sailing, playing the accordion and listening to classical music – and above all amateur radio.
In 1968, when the Dakar submarine was about to leave for Israel, Benny insisted on joining the voyage and after a great deal of effort he managed to convince his superiors to let him join the crew. On January 25th, the last signal was received from the submarine. Thirty-one years later, the remains of the Dakar were located at a depth of three kilometers, at a distance of 485 km from Haifa.
Benjamin Wasserman z”l combined his two loves: the sea and wireless radios. When he set sail on the Dakar submarine, his daughter Edith remained by the radio, waiting for a sign – waiting for him to come back.
Behind the scenes
Eyal Oren and Dafna Ben Ami: When we received the material about the death of Benjamin (Maimon) Wasserman, it was clear that this was a particularly moving story. It was enough to close one’s eyes, and one’s mind would already fill up with images that begged to be animated. The text with fragments of memory of his daughter Didi moved us, and we decided that the focus of the clip would be on her perspective – a young girl waiting for the return of her father and the feeling of helplessness that accompanies not knowing the fate of the submarine.